Breast cancer survivors to play key role

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP.
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1 year ago
Breast cancer survivors to play key role
The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
The Turnbull Government will fund an innovative two year support and training program aimed at delivering better support and outcomes for breast cancer survivors by linking them directly with researchers, clinicians and policy makers.  The Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) will receive $430,000 to roll out the Seat at the Table program to women across Australia with a particular focus on supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island and culturally and linguistically diverse women.  The program is internationally recognised for delivering better support and care for women battling breast cancer and other female cancers such as cervical, uterine, endometrial, and ovarian.  It recruits, trains and supports women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to work as consumer champions with researchers, advisory committees and decision making bodies throughout Australia.  These women represent the views and experiences of hundreds of thousands of women who have gone through, or will go through, the challenges of cancer.  It will mean patients are given a seat at the planning and development programs which will benefit them and many other women.  We were pleased to support this important program at the Field of Women event today at the MCG.  It is critical to support cancer survivors translate their lived experience to improve diagnosis and treatment of others.  The Turnbull Government congratulates BCNA on 20 years of advocacy and support for women with breast cancer, and thanks all of the women who took part in the event today.  A breast cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event, but provided the disease is caught early, there are better chances it can be treated. Australia’s five-year relative survival rate for breast cancer patients is now 90 per cent.  Breast cancer remains the most common cancer for Australian women. This year, we expect 18,000 new cases to be diagnosed, including 148 men, and over 3000 people to die from the disease.  The Government is investing heavily to support those battling cancer. This includes research into better prevention and treatment, expanded screening, and listing of new improved medicines on the PBS.  Finding breast cancer early still provides the best chance of beating it, which is why last year we provided an additional $64.3 million to extend the target group for BreastScreen Australia.  If you’re between 50 and 74 years old, you will receive an invitation to undergo a free screening every two years. We encourage all women to take up the offer.  For those who are diagnosed, the Government has taken action to ensure that the latest life-saving medicines are available through the PBS.  In July, we made Kisqali® available through the PBS for some women with advanced inoperable or metastatic breast cancer. This medicine now costs a maximum of $39.50 per script, instead of the actual cost of more than $71,800 a year.  Since November last year, patients with a family history of breast and ovarian cancer can have a new genetic test to determine their risk, funded by Medicare.  Research is the key to better medicines as well as better prevention. From 2013–14 to 2016–17, the Government provided more than $800 million to support cancer research, of which more than $110 million was directed to breast cancer research.  We are also providing $20.5 million to the McGrath Foundation over four years, to continue to provide breast cancer nurses to help women through their breast cancer journey, mainly in regional and rural areas.  (ENDS)  
Health and Aged Care breast cancer PBS